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1/15 From 1960: Cutch, Chuck Deals; Ric Rod Signs; '91, '16 Arb; '60 Rooks; Hans Museum; Pops In Arts; O Canada; RIP Gus; HBD Banny

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  • 1960 – The Pirates invited 22 rookies to join the club for spring training in Fort Myers. Out of the group, there were three who would end up pretty good ballplayers – LHPs Bob Veale & Joe Gibbon along with 1B Donn Clendenon. Gibbon made the club out of camp and saw action in the World Series, with Clendenon claiming a spot on the big team the following season and Veale becoming a member of the squad in 1962. 
Bob Veale – 1963 Topps
  • 1965 – Jeff “Banny” Banister was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Drafted in 1986, he got one at-bat with the Bucs in 1991 and singled. After going through the minor league system, he then served as a coach or manager for the franchise beginning in 1993. He flew the coop in 2014 when he was hired as the skipper of the Texas Rangers and quickly earned the AL Manager of the Year award in 2015. He came back to the Bucs briefly before being let go in 2020; now he’s the Arizona bench coach. His nickname, btw, isn’t based on his surname, but is short for “bantam rooster” because of his scrappy style of play. 
  • 1969 - In a minor league deal, the Pirates traded OF Manny Jimenez to the Cubs for RHP Chuck Hartenstein and IF Ron Campbell. Jimenez played briefly for Chicago (he went 1-for-6) before fading into the minors, while Campbell never made it to the show. Hartenstein made 56 appearances for the Bucs in 1969, with 10 saves and a 3.95 ERA, but slipped in 1970 and was traded to St. Louis and from the Cards to Boston to close out his final MLB campaign. Chuck coached and scouted afterward, spending some time with the Bucs as a minor league pitching coach during his travels. 
  • 1983 – Willie Stargell narrated the premiere of Robert Schwanter’s “New Morning for the World,” played at the Kennedy Center in DC by the Eastman Philharmonic, before a crowd of Washington politicos during an MLK birthday anniversary performance. Pops met President Ronald Reagan earlier in the day at a White House reception prior to the concert. 
  • 1991 – The Pirates had nine arb-eligible players – Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Doug Drabek, Mike Lavalliere, Jose Lind, John Smiley, Bob Kipper, Bill Landrum & Lloyd McClelland – and all filed for arbitration, with four going the distance to a hearing. Bonds, Bonilla and Lind lost their cases while Drabek beat the club and won a $3.35M salary with $2.3M being the club’s offer. Among the losers, Bobby Bo settled with $2.4M (he asked for $3.475M), BB got $2.3M (asked – $3.25M) and Chico took home $575K (asked – $950K, although he won the next year’s challenge for a cool $2M). 
Gus Suhr – 1934 Chicle Diamond All Stars
  • 2004 – Gus Suhr, who played 10 seasons for the Bucs (1930-39) passed away in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the ripe old age of 98. Gus was more dependable than spectacular – he hit .278 as a Pirate, drove in 100+ runs three times and made the 1936 All-Star squad. Suhr walked 250 times more than he whiffed as a Corsair and compiled a .368 OBP to offset just average power. He played a then-record 822 consecutive games, with the streak halted not by injury or slump but by his mom’s funeral. The San Francisco native liked his home by the bay – he spent from 1925-29 with the SF Seals of the PCL before joining Pittsburgh and came out of retirement to play for them during the war years of 1943-45. 
  • 2005 – Mayor Jim Pascoe of Carnegie announced plans for the Honus Wagner Museum which opened later in the year. The little-known attraction, filled with photos, news clips, and other Flying Dutchman mementos (with many culled from the local Elks Club that he belonged to) is on 1 West Main Street in the Carnegie Historical Society Building. It’s easy to spot with Honus’ famous baseball card replicated on a mural on the outside and is open M-F. 
  • 2006 - Canada’s first WBC team had a distinct Pittsburgh look to it, as current Bucco Jason Bay, past Pirate Matt Stairs, and future Corsairs Justin Morneau & Erik Bedard were named to the squad. 
  • 2016 - RHP Mark Melancon was the last of six arbitration-eligible players to agree to a contract. C Chris Stewart had earlier reached a two-year deal with the club. The others avoiding arbitration by inking one-year deals were C Francisco Cervelli, who then signed a three-year extension in May, LHP Tony Watson, RHP Jared Hughes, SS Jordy Mercer and LHP Jeff Locke. The FO trimmed five others off the list by non-tendering 1B Pedro Alvarez, 1B Travis Ishikawa, RHP Vance Worley and OF Travis Snider while trading 2B Neil Walker to the Mets. 
Mark Melancon – 2016 Topps Chrome Sepia
  • 2018 – Two days following the Gerrit Cole trade, the Pirates sent Andrew McCutchen, in the walk year of a $14.5M contract, and $2.5M to the San Francisco Giants for OF prospect Bryan Reynolds, RHP Kyle Crick and $500K international pool money. Reynolds was a 22-year-old switch-hitter who developed into an All-Star outfielder. Crick, a 25-year-old flamethrower with questionable control, became Pittsburgh’s eighth-inning bridge man during the ‘18 season. Injuries, up-and-down performances and other issues eventually earned him his release in 2021; he’s now with the White Sox organization. Cutch has played for three teams while undergoing knee surgery and is now a free agent. The FO had reportedly passed on a 2017 deadline deal with the Washington Nats that would have netted Gio Gonzalez, Lucas Giolito and a third lower-level player for Cutch’s services. 
  • 2021 - RHP Richard Rodriguez signed a one-year, $1.7M contract with the Pirates to avoid arbitration. A Buc since 2018, he got into 196 games with a line of 16-14-19/2.98 as the 27-year-old became the Bucs closer in ‘20. But not for long; he was traded to Atlanta at the ’21 deadline and is currently on the market.


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